There was a simple toy I used to love. It featured a bald man with big eyes and a red nose, who was shielded behind a plastic case. There was a red-handled stick, or “wand” as it was called on the package, that had a magnet on one end.
Inside the plastic case were metal shavings. If I placed the toy flat, I could use the magnetic wand to drag the shavings over the man’s face, giving him hair on his head, a mustache, beard, or even hairy ears if I wanted.
The toy, which debuted in the mid-’50s, is called “Wooly Willy,” and like many of the toys of youth, you can still buy it today.
What made me think of this was a new toy that, according to Fortune Magazine, recently accounted for 17 percent of all online toy sales: the fidget spinner.